Bringing three great Japanese films to collectors in fine form, Nikkatsu Diamond Guys Volume 1 comes highly recommended thanks to all three films being worth a watch for more reasons than the trio of actors featured on that cover art.While not flawless, seeing more Japanese cinema from the 50’s is an excellent thing if you in to expanding your cinematic horizons.
As all three of these flicks were new to me, it was quite pleasing to come away from this collection wanting to see more of what the directors and stars did over time. Longtime fans of the country’s movies will see some familiar faces in all three films, so the collection also works in that “spot the character actor” game we all play when we see a new film for the first time.
Seijun Suzuki’s 1958 mystery drama Voice Without A Shadow kicks things of with a noir-ish tale of Asako, a former newspaper phone operator who quit her job shortly after accidentally ringing up a killer in the middle of his dirty work. Three years later, Asako’s husband has a few work pals over for dinner and Asako recognizes one man’s voice as that of the killer. Talk about awkward dinner conversation! She has a minor breakdown, but things get worse when the killer turns up dead himself and Asako’s husband seems to be the prime suspect. In the middle of all this comes Ishikawa (Hideki Nitani), a reporter for that aforementioned newspaper. He had a crush on Asako back when she worked at the paper, but stepped aside when he discovered she was spoken for. Is his interest in the unsolved murders a new play for Asako’s intentions or is there some sort of actual journalistic integrity at work that will bring the killer of the killer to justice? Continue reading